On Saturday morning, 1,200 students and their families and friends gathered at the O'Connell Center for the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist’s Commencement Ceremony.
Gainesville Police Department collected 134 unwanted guns Saturday during a gun buyback held in front of Fire Station #3, 900 NE Waldo Road. The event, which was held in collaboration with the Alachua County Christian Pastors Association, was designed to reduce the number of weapons that could potentially fall into the wrong hands. Officers offered gift cards with amounts ranging from $50 to $300 or the option to take an Xbox One in exchange for a weapon. In total, the police had $5,000 plus the Xboxes to trade for guns. Darry Lloyd, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office, said the money for the buyback came from forfeiture funds, money confiscated in connection to illegal activity. All weapons turned over to officers are set to be broken down and destroyed unless someone has reported the gun stolen.
Celebration Pointe was lined with booths and vendors on Saturday as part of a Back to School Bash co-sponsored by Fun 4 Gator Kids, an organization that posts lists of local children’s activities, and the shopping center. The event was created to give children an afternoon of fun activities and a chance to interact with local businesses before Alachua County Schools begin classes on Aug. 12. The event featured fencing and archery demonstrations, charity drives, food and refreshments from vendors and a bounce house.
The plaza in front of the Hippodrome Theatre was transformed into a block party Saturday evening when the City of Gainesville hosted the Summer in the City Downtown Dance Party. Over 650 people of all ages attended the event, which had music from a DJ, food trucks, vendors and refreshments. Summer in the City was sponsored by Gainesville Health and Fitness and organized as a part of Gainesville150!, a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the city. Nicole Yucht, the project coordinator for Gainesville150!, said the organizers plan to hold a large event every three months during the celebration and that the next big event will be in early November. “Music and dancing brings people together,” Yucht said. “And so that’s what we really wanted to do.”
People gathered at High Dive on Saturday during the Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally presented by Glory Days. The event raised money to benefit the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, which is dedicated to providing medical aid to underprivileged communities. The rally featured a variety of food trucks as well as live music inside the bar. During the event, customers could vote for their favorite food truck by donating to jars held by volunteers beside each vendor. At the end of the night, the food truck with the most won a $100 Publix gift card — this rally’s prize was taken home by Monsta Lobsta, a truck specializing in lobster rolls.
About 100 people gathered in front of Gainesville City Hall on Friday evening to protest the conditions in immigration detention centers. The protest, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, was one of more than 500 around the world. It was organized by North Central Florida Indivisible and other local activist groups and featured several speakers who urged the crowd to help the undocumented community in Gainesville and call members of the U.S. Congress to demand the camps be closed down, including the center located in Homestead, Florida. The event also had local children recite poems that were left behind by children in Theresienstadt, a ghetto and concentration camp built by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
On Monday, protestors from Fight Toxic Prisons, the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub, Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and MAMA’s Club aimed to fundraise bail for dads to be released in time for Father's Day. On Wednesday, Bell finally came home.
The 352 Father’s Day and Juneteenth Bailout and Rally was held outside the Alachua County Jail on Monday. The event was hosted by Fight Toxic Prisons, the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub, Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and MAMA’s Club. The event aimed to raise money through a crowdfunding effort so fathers could be released on bail to be with their families after Father’s Day. $7,720 was raised out of a $20,000 crowdfunding goal on DonorBox. With this money, the $7,000 bail for Gerald Bell, who is imprisoned for drug-related charges, is planned to be posted today. Protesters held signs containing messages like “Abolish Slavery” and “Prisons Equal Slavery.” Alachua County Sheriff’s Officers prevented protesters from moving close to the jail and four protesters were detained after either passing a line of cones placed by the officers or attempting to remove these cones.